At university Ryan Mason studied the interconnection between gender and food security in Tanzania. When he decided to put his research to practical use, he bought the SPIN-Farming guides and became an urban farmer in Edmonton AB. He used the multi-locational model with 15 plots totaling about 20,000 sq. ft. as well as an indoor microgreens operation. He established multiple sales channels, including 40+ restaurants and retailers, 1 farmers market and a CSA. He was among the first suppliers to SPUD, now one of the largest online delivery grocery services in Canada.
His Reclaim Urban Farm was novel, even radical, for the time (2014). It immediately captivated the press, shook up public officials, and served as one of the cornerstones for building a local food economy. What Ryan had set out to prove was that a pedal-powered farm urban farm could be profitable. Mission accomplished. In 2019 he surpassed the critical five years in business milestone and was grossing almost $200k. Now Ryan’s gone from the rallying cry of “No more empty lots!” to reclaiming his family’s rural 50+ acre farm. So what does he call himself? Stoked.
See Ryan tell how a school project to reclaim vacant lots became a real business here.
“Urban farming gave me tools to use for intensive use of the land. We are still working in that model.”—Ryan Mason